I was just talking with a college friend this weekend, checking in with each other. We discussed our current C19 aka CARE-ona eating habits, disrupted routines, and how we were processing the global uncertainty and lack of structure.
Here’s my take. I’m going to expose a part of me that feels vulnerable but it’s an analogy that a lot of us will resonate with if you have/had a tendency of dating the wrong people. (#OMGme2 not the legit #metoo).
But first, let me talk about how we are responding to the current crisis. NO ONE knows what is going to happen and this unknowing, this funky space of “stay at home and stay safe” doesn’t always feel safe.
A lot of us are being triggered on an emotional level. On a primal level. And if you’ve ever used food as a coping mechanism (hey, my hands are up too) then you’re likely revisiting old behaviors you thought you had a pretty good handle on.
Perhaps you feel like you’re eating all. the. time. Or feel out of control with portions. Eating more comfort foods. Or experiencing some eating patterns that feel frustrating (big sigh).
Whatever you are doing is NORMAL.
Here’s the thing: we’ve never EVER seen a global health crisis like this before. It is stirring up some world-class emotions that are triggering and threatening our essential basic needs of safety and security. Our day to day routines and “normal” behaviors are shifting.
We’re eating when we are not/HNAT hungry to fill the void. We’re eating more food even though we might experience food shortages. We’re eating because we’re bored, disconnected, anxious, social distancing, and trying to cope.
If I am your dietitian and mindful eating coach, I want you to know that I am not/HNAT immune to it either.
Case in point…
Normally I jumpstart my day with my beloved Green Juice (recipe is in the 22 Spring Recipes Ebook). This is like oxygen in my lungs, serotonin in my brain, and pure joy in my belly. It just FEELS amazing: it’s easy to digest, my taste buds sing when I drink it and more importantly it gives me a steady boost of energy that coffee never could provide my personal biochemistry.
Today I woke up and I wanted hot chocolate. This is not uncommon during the colder, wet months and I will make my fave protein hot chocolate WHILE I’m making my green juice. Except for today. I didn’t want to make my green cappuccino. The VERY thing that feels amazing in my body.
But for some odd reason I added the ingredients into the blender and then…
JUST LEFT THEM IN THERE!
For a good 2-3 hours!!! That’s right. I abandoned my routine, I walked out in the middle of my shift. I didn’t follow through with making my feel-good juice. THIS, my mindful tribe, has never, ever happened.
Oh there are times, plenty of them, when I don’t FEEL like making it and I don’t. And then usually by 4pm I’m feeling the consequences of not having this green oxygen in my body. So if I’m working from home I’ll make it and all is well again.
Well what is going on when I START the process and just UP AND LEAVE halfway through? It feels like I decided to go to the gym, put on my workout clothes, drove or rode my bike TO the gym and then decided, nah, I’m not going inside. I changed my mind.
Same thing (well kinda).
I committed and then bailed.
It baffled me. And collectively what I’m hearing from clients and seeing on social media is a LOT of our eating habits ARE baffling us. We’re left confused and frustrated. Judgmental. A lot of “I shouldn’t be doing this…”
If you know what you should be doing, then why are you NOT doing it, right? Here’s the trick: knowing isn’t always doing. You read that right, just because you know better doesn’t mean you will DO better.
Just because you KNOW something doesn’t mean you’ll always DO it.
We all KNOW what we should and shouldn’t eat, but we don’t always DO it.
We all KNOW that we should include physical activity for optimal health but we don’t always DO it.
We have enough evidence that proves we shouldn’t smoke but some people still DO it anyway (even if a parent or loved one died from lung cancer!).
So what’s the secret to making change? How do we make our feel-good habits stick?
It’s easy for me to make my green juice when I FEEL like it, but the real struggle is making it even when I don’t want to. Normally I make it anyway but apparently Hnat so much today.
And so 2-3 hours later, when I wanted something to eat, do you think I said “okay, it’s time to make that green juice since it’s already to go- you’re already HALF WAY THERE!”?
I considered making oatmeal, my Loaded Yogurt Bowl (in Spring 22 Recipes Ebook ) – anything BUT the green juice. WHAT did I really WANT TO EAT?
What happened next kinda shocked me and then it didn’t.
I made the juice. I MADE THE D*MN JUICE!
In fact I’m DRINKING the green health elixir as I am writing this post because it felt like a big A-ha moment. I did what I didn’t WANT to do. Even though I did NOT want to make it, I did it anyway. Even if it was 2-3 hours later. Doesn’t matter.
I’m laughing now because looking back, it’s just JUICE! It takes 5-7 minutes to make and I’ve never EVER in my 20+ years of drinking this green drink, EVER said, “ugh, I wish I didn’t make this right now, it feels horrible on my stomach!” Instead I was patting myself on the back for overcoming whatever mental block or obstacle I was grappling with.
That my mindful tribe, is the difference between successful and unsuccessful people. Those who struggle with making change. I did what I did not/HNAT want to do. This happens when I “need” to go to the gym. When I “need” to write a blog post or send out an email or “need” to have a difficult conversation with a loved one.
We do the hard stuff anyway because we keep building that grit muscle. I’ve identified with the belief that I’m the kind of person who does the hard things so I can get to the other side.
This brings me back around to the conversation I had with my college bestie. Her eating habits were funky and I made the analogy that our eating habits were similar to dating the bad boy (be it pathological liar, narcissist, sociopath, player etc) or just the wrong human! Sometimes we’re doing the same thing over and over and over again until it just doesn’t feel good and you decide to make a change.
There is something oddly attractive to playing with fire and doing the “bad” thing or eating the “bad” foods. You know you’re gonna get burned, but you do it anyway. You regret it and wonder, “why do I keep making the same mistakes?”
I had the exact SAME test so to speak, right before I finally (!!!) met the love of my life of almost 13 years.
Short story: met a guy. Snappy, stylish dresser. Charming, handsome, successful. Player.
So while there was chemistry, I could also smell and taste how this was going to end. First date went really well, except for him out-dressing me, but my instincts said, “you’re gonna get burned (again) so you better run. Fast!”
AND if I’m honest with myself, I did not/HNAT want to. I wanted to see where it could go, I was thinking, “maybe it will be different this time….the dating pool in ATL sux” blah x3.
But then I had the Come to Jesus talk with myself while in shavasana in hot yoga and realized that the best decision was to end it before it began (my gawd, the symbology of deciding to end my bad dating decisions while in corpse pose – I can’t make this stuff up).
That was a first for me in the dating department, but I decided I was no longer the kind of woman who would date “this” kind of unavailable guy. I finally paid attention to the red flags.
What I was looking for and more importantly deserved, was the real-deal Evander Holyfield kinda love. The kind of love that my ex’s said didn’t exist. They said I lived in a fantasy world.
And interestingly enough, I met Tim 2-3 weeks later AFTER breaking my familiar pattern.
The moral of the story is this: you have to do the things you don’t want to do. You have to be the kind of person who notices your personal red flags and pushes through your own obstacles because you know that one of THE most gratifying + satisfying things is the feeling of making TRUE progress!
It doesn’t have to be anything significant. Little changes lead to BIG results.
Look, I know this is a crazy, unprecedented time. But the way I see it, we all have a golden opportunity in front of us. We are forced to be home and be still. Be present. And this is unsettling for a lot of people who haven’t done the deep, inner work.
But our true purpose in this life, the purpose of humanity is to awaken.
Awaken to our true potential.
Awaken to what no longer serves us (this includes eating habits + thought patterns).
Awaken to how we want to not only move THROUGH this monumental period of time, but also AFTER it.
This entire Covid-19 situation is a massive planetary awakening of consciousness, how we are living our lives and treating the planet.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Massive transformation is not designed for easy or comfort. It’s bumpy. It’s unfamiliar. It’s disruptive. We don’t know what’s going to happen. And that feels uncomfortable, majorly uncomfortable. As in lemme-watch-Netflix-and-eat kind of discomfort (if you’ve done my mindful eating challenge, then you know this can absolutely, 100% lead to overeating).
We can take this time to focus inward. How can WE change? What can WE let go of? How can WE evolve into a better, kinder, more evolved human? How can WE be a positive influence on other people?
We have an opportunity to uplevel our relationship with food, how we nourish our body, mind, spirit and soul. You can shift your thoughts and recognize that this could be YOUR time for massive growth and change OR you fall into old, familiar, bad-boy habits and behaviors. Either way, the decision is yours.
I get it. If changing habits was easy, everyone would be doing it.
But I’m really paying attention to my behaviors and especially my thoughts. Now is the time to do the same. Our thoughts can influence our behaviors and our behaviors (especially around food) influence the way we FEEL about ourselves.
I know people are struggling and so I’m creating ELEVATE – a virtual Mindful Eating support group to help you get through this time in a more mindful + intuitive way.
This C19 pandemic will go down in the history books. How do you want to remember going through it? Stuck in fear, panic and eating yourself out of house and home? Or sturdy, strong, resilient and ELEVATED to the 3.0 version of YOU?
Me, I’m going 3.0 baby….join me here